Can You Deep Fry Frozen Chicken Wings? Tips & Tricks

Amy Hand
Amy Hand

Amy Hand

Amy worked as the head pastry chef and the head chef at multiple restaurants in South Africa. She now shares her professional insights about cooking and kitchen tools here at The Skillful Cook.

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Have you ever come home after a busy day at work, dreaming of the delicious fried chicken wings you plan on making, only to realize that you forgot to defrost them? I know I have, and it is endlessly frustrating!

Now you’re wondering: can you deep fry frozen chicken wings?

It is possible to fry frozen chicken wings, but there are risks involved. Let’s look at the pros and cons of deep frying frozen wings. 

In this article, we’ll look at:

  • Can you deep fry frozen chicken wings?
  • Risks involved in deep frying chicken wings
  • Best way to deep fry frozen and thawed chicken wings.

Risks of Deep Frying Frozen Chicken Wings

When the USDA says that it’s “safe” to cook meat from frozen, this means that the quick change from frozen to cooked will not adversely affect the meat, or cause food poisoning.  It doesn’t mean that you don’t risk burning or fire. 

In other words, if you deep fry chicken wings without thawing them, the meat will be safe to consume, but this technique can be very unsafe in practice.

The main issue is that frozen chicken wings are full of water. The moisture inside the meat will solidify into ice, and the wing’s exterior will be icy.

If you place the wings straight from the freezer into the oil, the ice will drop into the hot oil, quickly melt and turn into steam. That steam will quickly rise to the surface and burst, causing oil to splatter everywhere and potentially burn you.

Risks of Deep Frying Frozen Chicken Wings

And then there’s the mess that frying wings from frozen can cause. When the oil splatters, it will cover the stovetop and any kitchen surfaces nearby, including the floor. This is not only a pain to clean up, but it is also a slipping hazard that needs to be cleaned up as quickly as possible.

In the worst-case scenario, spattering oil can cause a kitchen fire, which is why I urge you to proceed with caution when frying frozen foods. 

How to Reduce Risks 

Spattering is most likely to happen when the oil has overheated and reached the smoking point. You can avoid this by using a candy thermometer to keep track of the oil temperature or using a deep-fat fryer that will maintain a steady oil temperature throughout cooking. 

Overheating the oil, spattering, and burns are also more likely if you’re using a stovetop fryer rather than a deep fryer appliance. If you have a deep fryer appliance, use it! 

Air fryers, of course, don’t use boiling oil, so cooking frozen wings in an air fryer is totally safe if you cook them long enough.

If considering all this, you still choose to deep-fry your wings, then proceed at your own risk. I’m guessing that some of you are still willing to chance it.

So I am going to give you some tips on how to deep-fry frozen chicken wings as safely as possible. But I will also provide you with a recipe for how I prefer to deep-fry wings in ideal circumstances.

Difference Between Fresh and Frozen Fried Wings

Safety risks aside, there is not much difference in texture between wings fried from frozen or fresh. Both will have a crisp and golden outer crust with tender, juicy meat inside if you cook them for the correct amount of time.

The main differences are flavor and cooking time.

Since the wings are frozen, they will need longer to cook than fresh ones will. Fresh wings can be deep-fried to perfection in just 10-12 minutes, while the frozen ones will take at least 15 minutes, even more if they are very big.

Difference Between Fresh and Frozen Fried Wings

When I deep-fry fresh wings, I like to heavily season the chicken with a spice and seasoning mix that will impart a lot of flavor to the meat. Then I dredge them in the seasoned flour, which contributes even more flavor before frying.

Frozen wings are so hard and icy that the seasoning won’t stick to them. This means that the only seasoning is coming from the seasoned flour it is dredged in. This can result in fried wings that have a flavorful crust but lackluster meat. 

How to Deep Fry Frozen Chicken Wings

Remember: oil and water don’t mix.  So you’ll need to dry your wings as much as possible with a towel before placing them in your deep fryer. The packaging will be icy along with the wings, so make sure you dispose of it far away from your hot oil.

As chef Anthony Marino demonstrates in the video below, the safest way to deep fry chicken wings is in a deep-fat fryer. These handy appliances will keep the oil temperature steady and prevent it from reaching smoking level.

Oil temperature is very hard to maintain when you’re frying in a pot because the oil will continue to get hotter. You can avoid this by being very attentive and using a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature, but I wouldn’t risk it in this case.

This is how I recommend deep frying frozen chicken wings safely:

  1. This step is crucial, so do not skip it! Remove the chicken wings from their packaging and remove any ice. Pat them dry as thoroughly as possible.
  2. Get your oil to 365 °F before you start frying. Maintaining the right oil temperature is vital to do this safely. 
  3. Dredge the wings in seasoned flour until it’s evenly coated on all sides. This will absorb any excess moisture remaining on the outside.
  4. Place a handful of wings into the fryer basket and slowly lower them into the oil.
  5. Fry for 15 minutes until they are golden brown.
  6. Drain on a wire rack over a paper towel.

At the end of the day, this method will work but playing with hot oil is not something I enjoy. It may be safe and possible to deep fry wings from frozen, but, in my eyes, there are too many risks to do this intentionally. So I advise only using this method if you have no other choice.

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Thawing the wings before you cook them is drastically safer and cooks much faster than frozen wings.

How to Deep Fry Thawed Chicken Wings

Thawing the wings before you cook them is drastically safer and cooks much faster than frozen wings.

Here is how I recommend defrosting and frying chicken wings:

  1. Remove the chicken wings from your freezer, place them on a plate, and thaw in the fridge overnight. You can also use the microwave using our safe guide here. I don’t recommend defrosting chicken on the countertop as this can promote the growth of harmful bacteria that make you sick.
  2. Heat your deep-fryer to 365°F before you start frying.
  3. Pat them dry to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Season the wings with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and any other seasoning you prefer.
  5. Dunk the wings in seasoned flour until they are evenly coated on all sides.
  6. Place a handful of wings in the fryer basket and lower them into the oil.
  7. Deep-fry for 10-12 minutes until they are golden and cooked through. The internal temperature will read 165°F.

How to Air Fry Chicken Wings

If all this talk of spattering, burns, and fire have left you feeling cautious and you want to avoid the deep-fryer altogether, then you can easily air fry your frozen wings!

Air frying is a healthier option and completely safe when cooking from frozen. Simply dredge the wings in seasoned batter or flour, spritz them with a heat-safe oil, and air fry for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


You can deep fry frozen chicken wings in a pinch, but you need to take the proper precautions to do it safely. Hot oil and water can be a deadly mix, and it’s not to be taken lightly. Overall, I urge you to thaw and then deep fry your wings for a better result that is less risky, even if that means you have to order takeout tonight! You can also choose to put your air fryer to work and use that to fry them safely.

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Amy Hand
About The Author
After finding the chef life a little too high-paced, Amy decided to take her cooking skills and use them to teach others through food writing. She uses her knowledge as a pastry chef and experience as a head chef to write articles that are engaging and helpful while being as entertaining as possible.

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